North Korea’s missile program is progressing faster than expected, South Korea’s defense minister said on Tuesday, after the U.N. Security Council condemned the weekend launch of a new long-range missile and demanded Pyongyang halt weapons tests.
Han Min-koo told South Korea’s parliament that Sunday’s test had been detected by the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system, which was deployed in South Korea last month, infuriating China.
North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programs, even from China, its lone major ally, calling them legitimate self-defense.
It has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland, and experts say Sunday’s test was another step toward that aim.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has called for an immediate halt to North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests, and U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood said on Tuesday that China’s leverage was key and Beijing could do more.
The U.S. ambassador the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the United States believed it could persuade China to impose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea and warned that Washington would “call out” states supporting Pyongyang and target them with sanctions too.